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Epidural Steroid Injections
Epidural Steroid injections have become a mainstay in the treatment of pinched nerves, herniated discs and for pain. Epidural steroid injections can be performed at the cervical, thoracic, lumbar and even sacral region of the spine. It involves injecting an anti-inflammatory around the nerves in the spine. Epidural steroid injections can be very effective in reducing the pain and often the numbness and weakness associated with nerve irritation. It is a more conservative approach than surgical intervention.
Epidural steroid injection success rates
An epidural steroid injection is generally successful in relieving pain for approximately 50% of patients. If there is some improvement in back or leg pain, one to two additional epidural steroid injections are performed.
What are the risks?
The most common risk is a headache. If this develops it may start immediately or a few days after the injection. If you develop a headache you should drink plenty of fluids and stay in bed for a few hours. If this doesn’t get rid of the headache there is no emergency but you should call SNMSC at 505-437-0890 for further instructions or go to the hospital ER. Other risks such as bleeding, infection, and injury to a nerve happen about once in every 100,000 procedures. If one of these complications happens, you may notice a significant weakness in the legs.
What happens after treatment?
Most patients can walk around immediately after the procedure. After being monitored for a short time, you can usually leave the Pain Management Center after 10 minutes. However, take it easy for 24 to 36 hours after the injection to allow the anti-inflammatory benefits to take effect. Most patients can resume normal activities and/or participate in their physical therapy program within a few days after the ESI.
How will I feel after the injection?
Most people don't feel any different immediately after the injection. The steroid takes two or three days to start to have an effect in most people and peaks in about two weeks. Therefore, it may be awhile before you feel a change in your pain.
Side effects are minimal and consist mainly of mild tenderness in the area of injection which disappears in 1-2 days. Using an ice pack three or four times a day will help this. You may take your usual pain medications as well after the injection.
For what reasons should I call the Pain Management Center after the injection?
If your Physician has ordered a series of Epidural Steroid Injections your first two injections will be scheduled a week a part. The third Steroid injection will usually be more effective if withheld 30 days or greater. After 30 days if you become uncomfortable you will need to call and schedule your third Steroid injection. Some patients will not need the third Steroid Injection.
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